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Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Mar;43(1):49-55. doi: 10.4143/crt.2011.43.1.49. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Effects of Triterpenoid Glycosides from Fresh Ginseng Berry on SW480 Human Colorectal Cancer Cell Line.

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  • 1Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.



The pharmacological activities, notably the anticancer properties, of bioactive constituents fromfresh American ginseng berry have not yet been well studied. In this study, we investigated the antiproliferative effects of fresh American ginseng berry extract (AGBE) and its representative triterpenoid glycosides using the human colorectal cancer cell line SW480.


Using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the contents of 8 ginsenosides in AGBE were determined. The cell growth inhibitory effects of AGBE and three triterpenoid glycosides (ginsenosides Rb3, Re, and Rg3) were evaluated by proliferation assay and (3)H-thymidine incorporation assay. Cell cycle and apoptotic effects were analyzed by using flow cytometry after staining with propidium iodide and annexin V.


HPLC analysis data showed that AGBE has a distinct ginsenoside profile. AGBE inhibited SW480 cell growth significantly in a time-dependent (24-96 hours) and concentration-dependent (0.1-1.0 mg/mL) manner. Ginsenosides Rb3, Re, and Rg3 also possess significant antiproliferative activities on SW480 cells. (3)H-thymidine incorporation assay indicated that AGBE and ginsenosides Rb3, Re, and Rg3 might inhibit the transferring and duplication of DNA in SW480 cells. Flow cytometric assay data suggested that AGBE arrested SW480 cells in S and G2/M phases, and significantly induced cell apoptosis.


AGBE and ginsenosides Rb3, Re, and Rg3 possessed significant antiproliferative effects and induced changes of morphological appearance on SW480 cells. The mechanisms of the antiproliferation of AGBE and tested ginsenosides involved could be cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis.


American ginseng; Antiproliferation; Apoptosis; Cell cycle; Ginseng berry; Ginsenoside; SW480

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